The decision in early August by the administration of Governor Dannel P. Malloy to eliminate services at the DOL has raised significant concerns among advocates, lawmakers and fellow union members. The direct and immediate impact on job seekers, as well as the longer term affects on the recently launched “Second Chance Society” criminal justice reform initiative, have generated strong opposition.
for press reporting on the cuts’ public impact.
But the difficulties they create will not stop there, as the workplace chaos caused by layoffs of veteran staff has the potential to continue well into the future.
Leaders of our AFT Connecticut-affiliated Administrative & Residual (A&R) Employees Union, as well as Council 4 AFSCME and CSEA/SEIU Local 2001, are fighting to keep targeted members employed. But operationally, a “learning curve” must be factored in for laid-off employees placed in new positions within state service as a result of their union seniority benefits. This, of course, would be in addition to the emotional reverberations throughout the workplace that are the inevitable consequence of such a disruption.
“The real impact is yet to come,” said A&R Union President John DiSette (pictured above, 2nd from left), summing up the shared concerns of union leaders.
for the latest update for affected A&R union members at the DOL.
“We process paperwork on unemployment benefits and funding for the entire agency,” said Luciana Flynn (above, far right), a revenue examiner who received a layoff notice just two days after returning from maternity leave. “Four to five of us in our unit are being impacted and I’m concerned about how the work will get done,” added Flynn, who has two years of experience at the DOL.
“We’ll do our best to mitigate the damage, but there will be a far-reaching impact,” said Tyra Knight (above, far left), an accountant with 10 years of experience at the agency who also received a pink slip. As a budget analyst in the DOL’s research department, Knight has been responsible for grant funding for the agency’s call centers, field audit units and public job placement centers.
“We understand that the unemployment rate has dropped, but there are still many who are out of work seeking our help,” added Knight.
“We are responsible for the funds that support the entire unemployment system,” said Zondra Singleton-Clay (above, second from right), a revenue examiner and 25-year DOL employee who also received a layoff notice. “If we can’t account for these funds, how can we make sure the public gets the assistance they need?” she asked rhetorically, capturing the concerns of her colleagues for the people who rely on their services every day.
AFSCME has organized a vigil and rally to raise awareness and galvanize support for affected union members on Saturday, September 26 beginning at 12:00PM at DOL headquarters in Wethersfield. Layoffs of their Local 269 members are scheduled to take effect October 1, and they need the solidarity of the state’s labor movement in this, their time of need.
for more info on the vigil and to share the details with friends on social media.
Our eight A&R union members whose jobs have been targeted for elimination have been informed that their last day with the DOL will be Thursday, October 15. Members not already receiving email from AFT Connecticut should sign-up now to be informed of further developments and opportunities to get involved.
to sign up for email alerts and updates.